Growth issues grip East Side political contests
July 7, 2007
Campaigns in eastern Summit County began Monday as councilors in five East Side cities ponder whether they’ll run again in November.
It’s unclear what sort of campaigns will emerge in 2007 because only a few candidates in eastern Summit County had filed on Friday. On Nov. 6, voters in Francis, Kamas, Oakley, Coalville and Henefer will elect city councilors.
People must file campaign papers with City Hall between July 2 and 16.
A building moratorium currently in effect in Francis means new councilors must likely maneuver complicated zoning matters. The moratorium bans development until officials can increase the capacity of the sewer system in Francis.
Council seats in Francis held by Dusty Hatch, Rex Hallam and Greg Averett are on the ballot. But no candidates had declared their candidacy in the South Summit town on Friday.
In Kamas, the East Side’s largest city with a population of roughly 1,500, incumbent City Councilors Kevan Todd and Dan Littledyke will each run again.
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The seats held by Todd, Littledyke and Emmitt McNeil are on the ballot. This week, McNeil had not filed for another term.
"I don’t see any issues that are significant that are not related to growth," Kamas Mayor Lew Marchant said about the campaign.
The next council must maintain the city’s general plan and development code, Marchant said.
"We’re having growth in our city right now and some we’ve encouraged and some just happens naturally," the mayor said. "I think that’s a critical thing."
Meanwhile, no candidates had filed Friday in Coalville where council seats held by Joan Judd, Brent Scholes and Steven Richins are on the ballot.
"I really haven’t made a final decision," Scholes said Friday.
Richins also had not decided to run when reached this week. Probably the biggest issue Coalville will face in the next four years is growth, Richins said in a telephone interview.
"I think a lot of [citizens] would want it, but not real fast," Richins said referring to a roughly 300-home subdivision proposed in the northeast part of Coalville. "We don’t want everything just boom, boom, boom, as fast it can go. We need to sit down and see what it’s going to do to the community and how it’s going to affect us."
How commercial development should occur in downtown Coalville where planners have proposed a historic district will be an "emotional" debate in the future, explained Scholes.
"We have had a lot of public comment, which is good," Scholes said.
A large subdivision proposed by developer Ian Cumming in the Allen Hollow area of Coalville could emerge as the polarizing issue of this year’s campaign.
Farther north in Henefer, few are talking about the upcoming campaign, Henefer Mayor Randy Ovard said.
"I have not had one soul even come and talk to me about it," Ovard said.
With a population of nearly 750 people, Henefer is having growing pains, the mayor explained.
"We’re in the process now of putting impact fees in place to be able to have infrastructure for subdivision developments," Ovard said, adding that councilors are mulling 16- and 10-home proposals while "two or three smaller" developments are on the horizon.
Henefer officials must also replace a 60-year-old water line, said Ovard, who added that town councilors are also concerned about having enough water rights.
"It doesn’t matter whether you’re a town of 700 or a town the size of Park City the same issues face both towns," Ovard said.
In November, Henefer voters will elect councilors for seats that currently belong to Bruce Rowser and Douglas Paskett, who recently suffered a stroke.
"He has managed to recover to the point that we rolled him into the last meeting in a wheelchair," said Ovard, explaining Paskett’s condition.
Finally, there does not appear to be a polarizing issue that will dominate the campaign in Oakley.
In November, council seats held by DelRay Hatch, Craig Rydalch and Ron Bowen will be on the ballot.